Posts Tagged ‘London Photos’

Bodies & Urns

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, Camden, 1987 87-7f-22-positive_2400

Apart from my obsession with doorways which will have become obvious to regular readers of my posts, there are various other sub-themes in my work on London, some explored in black and white, others in the colour work and some in both.

Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, Camden, 198787-7f-23-positive_2400

One of these was the various different representations of the human body, both two and three-dimensional, as in the robot, dress forms and corsetry advertising in these pictures.

Store St, Camden, 1987 87-7f-32-positive_2400

I think I also photographed two of these in colour, and certainly my colour pictures at the time include a remarkable number of shop windows containing heads without bodies.

Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-26-positive_2400

Urns and other sculptural detail and ornaments were also something I felt worth recording.

Garden, Holland Park,  Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-41-positive_2400

One of the photographers whose work I greatly admire is Eugène Atget and his work contains many such images particularly those in grand gardens such as the Parc St Cloud, and in 1984 I had spent several weeks photographing Paris in a homage to his work which you can see in my book In Search Of Atget – the preview there includes many of the best images.

Garden, Holland Park,  Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-56-positive_2400

These pictures are from page 5 of my Flickr album 1987 London Photos and clicking on any of them will take you to a larger version there which will also tell you where they were taken.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


More Bayswater etc 1987

Monday, September 21st, 2020
Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7d-66-positive_2400
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Divine Wisdom (Hagia Sophia), Moscow Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987

It’s hard to know where Paddington ends and Bayswater begins, or where Bayswater become Notting Hill. There are two Westminster borough wards called Bayswater and Lancaster Gate which I think most would consider Bayswater, and Notting Hill comes under Kensington & Chelsea, but popular perceptions usually don’t follow local government boundaries – and estate agents have remarkably elastic definitions of areas.

Brunel House, Westbourne Terrace, Orsett Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster 87-7e-22-positive_2400
Brunel House, Westbourne Terrace, Orsett Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987

My walks by 1987 were generally planned in advance, obviously with a starting point from some Underground or Rail station, but also with an intended destination, and places that looked to be of interest from maps and books marked on an enlarged copies of A-Z pages. But the actual routes I took were subject to considerable deviation from plan, with decisions made at crossroads as to which direction looked more interesting – and I didn’t always end up at the planned destination. I kept notebooks to record my routes and some details of what I photographed, transferring the route to the map copies when I got home and some details to the contact sheets after I developed the films.

Brunel House, Westbourne Terrace, Orsett Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster87-7e-55-positive_2400

When putting the pictures on-line I have tried where possible to verify the locations from the pictures themselves. Some include street names and or house numbers, shop names. My contact sheets usually also have street names and grid references and web searches and Google Streetview or Bing Maps usually enable me to positively identify buildings which are still standing.

Prince of Wales, pub, Cleveland Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7e-32-positive_2400
Prince of Wales pub, Cleveland Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987

But where my pictures show only small details, it has sometimes proved impossible to be sure of the exact location, and this is often also the case in those areas which have undergone extensive redevelopment. But for areas such as Bayswater, where many of the properties have been listed and relatively little has changed it is generally possible to find exact locations.

Bishops Bridge Rd,  Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7e-52-positive_2400
Bishops Bridge Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987

During the 80s and 90s I sold several hundred pictures to the National Building Record, including of a number of buildings that were either already listed when I took their pictures or had been listed after I photographed them. I think there were just a few that I brought to their attention which had previously been unnoticed, mainly in the outer suburbs.

Gloucester Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987  87-7e-66-positive_2400
Gloucester Terrace, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987

But my work in London came at a time when the worth of many buildings was being recognised both by me and those responsible for listings, which had previously largely concentrated on genuinely ancient structures and some public and ecclesiastical buildings, largely ignoring commercial buildings and those from late Victorian, Edwardian and more modern times. It was a prejudice even reflected in great works such as the many volumes of Pevsner’s The Buildings of England.

Dawson Place, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-13-positive_2400
Dawson Place, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Back to Mayfair 1987

Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Culross St/Park Lane area, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-12-positive_2400

Logically you might expect Wood’s House to be in Wood’s Mews, and it may well have been, but if so is no longer there. The frame before I took two pictures of this rather pleasant 1930s building was a view of the side in Wood’s Mews of a house in Park Lane, and the frame after is of another house further south on Park Lane on the corner of Culross St.

I suspect a building with only two stories became yielded a huge profit to developers in being built as an ugly but considerably taller block, but it would be nice to be proven wrong and to find this still tucked away in a corner.

129 Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987  87-7a-36-positive_2400

I think this rather splendid marble (I think) steps are still there on Park Lane behind the high wall that now keeps them out of view of the hoi polloi who often crowd the area around the bus stops close to this corner with Green St.

Perhaps walls like that which now hides these steps and the view from the pavement of the houses behind are a result of the increase in inequality in our society and reflect an increasing unease among the elites. Though there have been few signs of the London mob in recent years. More likely the owners got fed up with finding people sitting on them waiting for buses.

Eagle Squadron, memorial, Grosvenor Square, Wesminster, 1987 87-7a-41-positive_2400

Before the US joined in the Second World War at the end of 1941, 244 US citizens volunteered to join the RAF and served in the RAF, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes in three three Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons, despite US laws which meant losing their citizenship for fighting for a foreign power The squadrons were transferred to the USAF in 1942 and the pilots were pardoned in 1944.

The bronze eagle on the top of the column is by Elizabeth Frink, and the memorial was financed by US newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst. It was unveiled here by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

US Embassy, Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-43-positive_2400

Grosvenor Square was chosen as the site for the Eagle Squadron memorial because of the US Embassy which occupied the entire west end of the square. It was then a fine example of modern architecture and lacked the high fences, ugly lodges and patrolling armed police that made it a rather grim feature in more recent years. I think the long queue is of people queuing to enter the embassy to get US visas.

Car, Gilbert St, St Anselm's Place,  Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-64-positive_2400

I have to admit to knowing nothing about cars. But this one parked in Gilbert Street was obviously a little out of the ordinary and I imagine very expensive. It looked to me like something out of a black and white film noir, and perhaps the setting would have served too. I’m sure there will be people who see this picture and can immediately recognise the make, model and date – and if so I hope they let me know in a comment.

To me it looks American, and the style seems to belong to the late 1930s, though it could be a modern replica, possibly one made for use in a film. It has an engine that doesn’t quite fit in the bonnet, perhaps 8 cylinders. The number plate NGF786Y no longer appears to exist. This is also a picture I seem to have missed retouching and there are more than usual number of scratches and dust spots.

Davies St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7a-65-positive_2400

It isn’t hard to identify this building as the Grosvenor Works of John Bolding and Sons in Davies Street, as their name is proudly displayed on a plaque at bottom left and on the building at top right, with the initials JBS featuring twice in the centre of the picture. The company was founded by Thomas Bolding in 1822 in South Molton St and they were at first brass founders.

By the 1870s they had moved into the business they became famous for as providers of high-class sanitary equipment. They moved to this site in the late 1880s and these premises were built as a showroom for their goods, with a foundry elsewhere in London. The architects were Wimperis and Arber; John Thomas Wimperis had been appointed as one of the Grosvenor Estates approved architects in 1887 and his assistant William Henry Arber became a partner in 1889.

In 1963 Boldings bought up the business of their rather better-known rival Thomas Crapper. But a few years later in 1969 Boldings was wound up, while Thomas Crapper & Company Limited, founded in 1836, continues in business based in Huddersfield, offering ” a small yet extraordinarily authentic set of Victorian/Edwardian sanitaryware.”

The River Tyburn runs through the basement of the building which is now occupied by Grays Antiques, established in 1977. The river is a tourist attraction with large goldfish swimming in it.

Park Lane, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-7b-66-positive_2400

93 Park Lane, a small part of which is visible at extreme right was a speculative rebuild of 1823-25 by builder Samuel Baxter and is Grade I listed primarily because it “was Benjamin Disraeli’s London residence from 1839 to 1872; Coningsby, much of Sybil and other novels by Disraeli were written here”, whereas the others are all Grade II. 94 to its left was also rebuilt by Baxter at the same date. Next left, 95 was rebuilt in 1842-4 by John Harrison in plain brick with stucco only on the ground floor; the rounded 96 was rebuilt in 1826 as was its more angular neighbour 97. Almost entirely out of sight at left, 98 from 1823-5 was from 1888-94 the residence of Frank Harris, “author and adventurer”, and the final house in the terrace, not in my picture, was also built then by Jon Goldicutt and was the home from 1826-85 of philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore.

Many other photographers have photographed these houses, including Bill Brandt, who made his picture on a Spring afternoon in 1932 from behind railings across the south-bound carriageway, with a London bus in traffic behind a rather grander horse-drawn carriage driven by two top-hatted men. On page 27 of ‘Camera In London’ it appears with the simple title ‘Mayfair’. The Tate website lists it as “Regency Houses, Park Lane, Mayfair – c.1930–9, later print” and apologises “SORRY, COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS PREVENT US FROM SHOWING THIS OBJECT HERE”, but you can view it on Artnet where it is captioned “Park Lane (Mayfair, London) , ca. 1960”. I increasingly think that our current copyright law needs review.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Yet More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
Schomberg House, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-36-positive_2400

My walks around London’s Westminster and Mayfair continued in June and July 1987 and ranged wider into Notting Hill. The selection of pictures I’ve put on Flickr represents roughly one sixth of the pictures I took, and are those I now find more interesting and feel will interest others more. They include a rather higher proportion of statues and sculpture and rather less of the more workaday buildings and scenes. I was also beginning to become rather freer in my use of film, more often taking two or even three frames of a particular building or view.

June was a busy time of year for me in my teaching, with students taking exams and I was involve in both marking and moderation, both stretching into the early weeks of July until term ended and sometimes beyond. I envied those who were free to go to Arles for the Rencontres, but could only read the accounts in the magazines (the web was yet to come) and by the time I’d left teaching and could have gone had lost the urge to do so.

Schomberg House in Pall Mall is a grand facade, partly from the town house built in 1698 for the Duke of Schomberg. The eastern third of it was demolished in 1850, but when the building behind the facade was demolished and redeveloped into offices in 1956 the missing part of the facade was rebuilt to restore the symmetry of the whole facade. This “Central projecting caryatid porch of painted Coade stone (dated 1791)” was originally the main entrance to the house, but now has no doorway, just a window. The ‘allegory of painting’ above the door possibly reflects that for some years the building was occupied by the artist John Astley (and the rather better known  Thomas Gainsborough lived in part of the house too),  though if it also dates from 1791 the house had passed into the ownership of the Scottish quack James Graham who, according to Wikipedia, set it up as a “Temple of Health and Hymen”, a high class brothel and gambling den which was eventually raided and closed down by the police.

Ship model, Cunard, Pall Mall,St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-26-positive_2400

Cunard had an office in Pall Mall when Charles Dickens wrote his Dickens’s Dictionary of London in 1879, and there was still an office there in 1987, although clearly in a more modern building. I’m not sure if this is a part of the rather ugly functional building that is still there on the north side of Pall Mall, but what attracted me was clearly the model ship in the window.

King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-33-positive_2400

This is 54 Pall Mall and the site was for over a hundred years until 1940 occupied, according to The Survey of London on British History Online by
Messrs. Foster, auctioneers. They commissioned this frontage from architects Karslake and Mortimer in 1891, and later in 1931 had the building rebuilt behind it. That architectural practice ended in 1895 when Mortimer died and Karslake retired. This building with its perhaps strange mixing of styles was Grade II listed at the end of 1987. It is now the offices of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

The Golden Lion, King St, St James's, Westminster, 1987 87-6b-34-positive_2400

The Golden Lion in King St was more interesting to me, not just because it was still open as a public house, though I don’t remember having been inside. The first record of a pub on this site, then the Golden Lyon, is in 1732, but the present building dates from 1897-8. The architect is not known, but the Survey of London has a long description which begins rather snootily:

Designed in a grotesque imitation of the Jacobean Baroque, its narrow stone front bulges with projecting windows and carved ornament on a scale quite out of keeping with its size. 

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp295-307#h3-0012

I found it an appealing exuberance. This was a time when architecture of the late nineteenth and early 20th century was only really beginning to be widely appreciated, and this building was again Grade II listed at the end of the year.

Burne House,Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-13-positive_2400

You may need to look closely to see that the ‘building’ that occupies most of the lower section of this picture is not a building but simply a painting on a high fence in front of a building site.

The tall block is Burne House, built as a BT Telecommunications Centre in 1977 with 15 floors and around 207ft tall. The hoarding or wall on which the painted scene is is now a plain brick wall separating Peabody housing in Burne St, completed in 1977, from the Marylebone Rd.

Large Spindle Piece, Henry Moore, Sculpture, Spring Gardens, Westminster, 1987 87-6c-35-positive_2400

Henry Moore’s Large Spindle Piece was in Spring Gardens from from 1981 to 1996. Seven copies of this large bronze were cast in 1974 and this was the ‘artist’s cast’, currently on loan to Network Rail and in the square in front of Kings Cross station.

Britannia, Field Marshal Lord Clyde, statue, Baron Carlo Marochetti, Waterloo Place, Westminster, London  87-6c-55-positive_2400

Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde (1792 – 1863) was one of the leading British military figures of his age; born Colin Macliver, he adopted the family name of his uncle in whose care he then was when he enlisted in 1808. He served in the Peninsular War (where his only brother had been killed) and went on to fight in many of our European and colonial wars of the era. There is a lengthy description of his career on Wikipedia.

In 1823 he was aide-de-camp to the governor in Demerara in Barbados, it is not clear if he took part in the brutal reprisals against the slave rebellion there in August 1823, but he was a part of the court martial which sentenced the Reverend John Smith to death. From there he went to Ireland where troops were needed to force the Roman Catholic majority to pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. In 1842 he led his regiment fighting in the First Opium War in China and later in the year was made commandant of Hong Kong. In 1848-9 he led his brigade in battles in the Second Anglo-Sikh War and afterwards was involved in other operations, though he resigned in disgust when asked to mount an invasion of the Swat Valley.

He is probably best known for his service in the Crimean War, where he commanded the Highland Brigade and was notably photographed by Roger Fenton. He was then made a general and sent to India to command all the British forces there and put an end to the ‘Indian Mutiny’, only returning to England in 1860 when ” all aspects of the revolt had died away”.

He died in 1863, and the statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti was erected in Waterloo Place in 1867. Campbell had obviously been a brave and courageous soldier and had done a great deal for Britannia, ensuring that if not the waves, she ruled the lands of many other peoples and was able to plunder them for profit. Men like him made possible the great wealth of our Victorian elites that we now see. Quite how we regard that now is a matter for debate, and his memorial is obviously in need of a great deal of recontextualisation, but it has more character as a work of art than most statues.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More West End 1987

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Dover St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-35-positive_2400

I can offer little explanation for this rather sad looking bust, odd cup and plates which my contact sheet says I photographed in Dover St. I think the odd cup in the foreground is actually an extremely naff clock, with the lower snake’s head pointing to the hour and the upper head to a disk showing minutes. In the unlikely event it was working I took this picture at around 11.58. What it lacks is a rod coming out of the top with an arm holding a small bird or fly whizzing around for the seconds.

I guess the guy in the background could be Titus or Vespasian; most of the other Emperors had fancier hair, at least in their busts. This one looks around life-size and could well be the sculptor’s grandfather but more likely a copy of an older figure. From the number of similar busts around I have a picture of circles of student sculptors around a bust in a gallery at perhaps the V&A, each chipping away at a block of marble as an exam piece. Whoever did this one would have deserved a decent grade.

Berkeley St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-56-positive_2400

More sculptures with two young stone ladies pretending to hold up a porch in Berkeley St. It looks a rather boring job. But although both seem to be scratching their heads they don’t appear to be putting a great deal of effort into it.

Ukrainian RC Cathedral, Duke St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-24-positive_2400

Whenever I see this building it amazes me that this gaudy and extravagant edifice was built as a Congregational Church, the King’s Weighouse Church, built in 1889-91 to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse, better known for his Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Congregationalists are Puritans, tracing their heritage back to the Brownists and the London Underground Church of the 1560s. Rejecting the ecclesiastical trappings at the centre of the Anglican Church – cathedrals, bishops, vestments, formal liturgies, priests, the sign of the cross and more – they espoused a simple austere faith based on the priesthood of all believers.

Of course over the years there was some back-tracking. But most Congregational church buildings remained suitable austere, often with at least a hint of the Classical – and some did it very finely but without great ornament. Sadly their practices deteriorated to the extent of allowing church choirs, though these consisted of adult members who considered they could sing, and organs. But as someone raised in the tradition (though no longer involved) I still fine the ornate nature of this building surprising.

Perhaps it was becuase the King’s Weighouse came from an older – and Royal tradition, tracing its ancestry back to Queen Matilda’s ‘Free Chapel’ at the Tower of London, founded by her in 1148 and not subject to the rule of any bishop. When the 1662 Act of Uniformity made the Book of Common Prayer and other aspects of Anglican practice compulsory almost the entire congregation left and shortly after began to worship as an independent congregation in an ancient building on Cornhill where foreign goods coming into London were weighed – the King’s Weigh House. They kept the name when they built their own chapel where Monument station now is, and later in other buildings, bringing it to Mayfair where they combined with a congregation already on this site and then built a new church.

Perhaps it was the influence of this building which in the 1920s led the church, then led by Rev Dr W. E. Orchard to moving towards Rome and developing what became known as ‘Free Catholicism’. The church never really recovered from wartime requisition and bomb damage and closed in the 1950s. Since June 1968  it has been the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of he Holy Family of Exile, which seems a far more suitable use for the building. You can read more about it on the Cathedral web site, from which much of the above comes.

Air St, Piccadilly, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-33-positive_2400

In Air Street we could almost be inside a cathedral. The rebuilding of the area around Piccadilly Circus was a subject of various proposals, plans and debates from around 1886 until 1928 which you can read in some detail in British History Online and possibly make more of than me. It involved many of the UK’s leading architects of the era, including Richard Norman Shaw and Sir Reginald Blomfield. I think that this section was built to Blomfield’s designs in 1923-8, but by that point in the text my eyes were fully glazed.

Regent St, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-34-positive_2400

In Regent St I was faced with the problem of photographing something which I find rather bland and boring – like most of the more monumental architecture of that period.

I found another curve to go with the two of the street, but I think it is no longer there – and many other details of the shops etc have changed. Bus Stop C is still there, but no longer served by Routemasters.

Christ Church, Cosway St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-5m-36-positive_2400

Christ Church in Cosway street, Marylebone was no longer a church when I took this picture having been made redundant in 1978 and converted into offices. This Grade II* church was built in 1824-5 by Thomas Hardwick and his son Philip Hardwick, one of the more interesting of the many cut-price Commissioner’s Churches built from 1820-1850 to cope with the rapid expansion of the urban population.

Despite the appearance it is a largely brick building with stone dressing. It was altered in 1887 by Sir A W Blomfield but I think this did not affect the portico or tower, a rather unusual construction, “3-stage tower with square Ionic peristyle with cylindrical core rising into octagonal cupola with volutes.”

More on page 4 of my album 1987 London Photos.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Still Mayfair – 1987

Sunday, September 6th, 2020
New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-11-positive_2400

A shop window display that could be in an art gallery, but one that I think might now be very questionable, with its three black women, one holding her bikini top in her hand roped and held by hands (also black) coming up from the floor. I thought of the slave trade, and also of bondage and it gave me much the same uncomfortable feeling as the photographs of Helmut Newton.

This is a display of expensive ‘Beachwear‘, in “the department store of note for shoppers of exceptional taste since 1882“. The cossie at left would set you back £55 – around £155 allowing for inflation – and does not look as if it is designed for swimming. And although the three ‘mannequins’ are barefoot, they are all up on their toes as if wearing high heels rather than in a natural pose.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-23-positive_2400

This building was Grade II listed in 1970, but the listing text gives little information about it, describing it as ‘commercial premises, ca 1900 and mentioning its ‘carved decoration to apron panels and arches’.

The architects were Leonard Martin (1869-1935) and Henry John Treadwell (1861–1910), responsible for a number of fine commercial buildings in London from 1890-1910, like this one in a fin de siècle art nouveau style. The ‘architectural sculpture’ is possibly by J. Daymond & Son, and its grapevine motif suggests this may have been built as a pub, but I’ve not been able to find more detail.

Woodstock St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-31-positive_2400

Woodstock St is just off New Bond St, and this picture shows the Woodstock Tavern, still a pub (and still a pub at least until recently, though for some time it was a Japanese bar) and clearly built as such. It was one of around 400 pubs across London and the surrounding areas of the Cannon Brewery Co. Ltd based at their brewery in Clerkenwell. Founded around 1720, this had 110 pubs in 1895; it was taken over by Taylor Walker in 1930, but brewing continued in Clerkenwell until 1950.

The pub was here from 1841, and for a time in the 1840s and 50s was run by Mrs Ann Harding and known as Harding’s Tavern. The current building is from 1876.

The building at left, the Bonbonierre Restaurant, is another by Martin & Treadwell.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-35-positive_2400

Another Mayfair man, who I appear to have given wings, and who has a face made of playing cards. The suit carries a label for the Parisian fashion house founded by Nino Cerruti.

'May the 4th be with you', Marble Arch, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-52-positive_2400

Marble Arch with a banner ‘MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU’ presumably for ‘Star Wars Day’, a feeble pun on the catchphrase “May the Force be with you”.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-25-positive_2400

The Arcade, linking Old Bond St and Albemarle St was built as an upmarket shopping centre in 1879 and is London’s oldest purpose-built shopping arcade.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-11-positive_2400

It became ‘The Royal Arcade’ after Queen Victoria bought shirts from shirtmaker William Hodgson Brettell at No 12 in 1880. Though I rather doubt she went there in person or wore his shirts. Other shopkeepers in the arcade have also been awarded the Royal Warrant, and she apparently still gets here chocolates there from Charbonnel Et Walker.

More from Mayfair (and some other parts of London) in my album 1987 London Photographs – these pictures are on page 4.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


Paddington Arm 1987

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Paddington Arm, Regents Canal, Westway, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-4a-23-positive_2400
Paddington Arm, Regents Canal, Westway, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

You can just see the canal through the open hatch and across the galley area of the narrow-boat Crystal closest to the camera, but the view struck me as a remarkable interlocking of the boats, roads and buildings, different eras of construction and transport. The Westway here sits on top of the Harrow Road bridge over the canal, the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union which was opened in 1801. (Confusingly there is a separate Harrow Road bridge across the canal a hundred yards northwest and yet another a kilometre further on.) At right we have the concrete architecture built for the road operations of British Rail in 1968-9, around the same time as the Westway which opened in 1970. Its building made very clear the tremendous damage that building urban motorways caused to the city.

Footbridge, Lord Hill's Rd, Westbourne Green, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-12-positive_2400
Footbridge, Lord Hill’s Rd, Westbourne Green, Westminster, 1987

There was just something zany about this view that appealed to me, with the smooth curve of the metal lamp support and the jagged line of the concrete bridge., and the two circular objects, lamp and mirror and that dagger of a church spire with its cross.

Regents Canal, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-23-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987

A rather more conventional view of the canal and a canal bridge, though I did deliberately include in the foreground those rails and slope leading to nowhere. This is the bridge at the west end of Little Venice, and takes Westbourne Terrace Road across to Blomfield Rd at the right of the picture. Google Maps names this place as the Little Venice ‘Ferry Terminal’.

Footbridge,Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-26-positive_2400
Footbridge,Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The north end of the footbridge in a picture above, which linked Lord Hills Road and Blomfield Rd. Here I took a simpler approach to its concrete edge, making it a jagged diagonal, emphasized by the handrails. On one side of it the graffiti, to its right the regularity of the houses, probably dating from around 1850, in Blomfield Rd. The footbridge has since been replaced by a rather less interesting metal bridge.

The Blomfields came over with William the Conqueror in 1066, their name deriving from the village of Blonville-sur-Mer in Calvados, Normandy. There were many of them by the 19th century when this road was named, and among them several bishops, well-known architects etc. I suspect it was named after Charles James Blomfield (1786 – 1857)  who was Bishop of London from 1828 until he resigned due to ill health in 1856.

Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-43-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-44-positive_2400

This area next to the Westbourne Terrace Road bridge and opposite the Canal Offices used to be home to a strange collection of stone works, but these were removed and for some years this was just an empty patch of grass. It is now a ‘wildlife refuge’, not for big game like those here, but, thanks to Edward Wilson Primary School, is The Bug Hotel, Bloomfield Garden.

Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987 87-4b-45-positive_2400
Regents Canal, Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, Westminster, 1987
Westway, Regents Canal, Westbourne Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-4c-22-positive_2400
Westway, Regents Canal, Westbourne Grove, Westminster, 1987

Finally my young assistant takes a rest (and a photograph) by the canal underneath the Westway.

All pictures were taken in April 1987 and are from my Flickr album 1987 London Photos which now contains over 700 photographs.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Camden and more, 1987

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-36-positive_2400
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

This view will be familiar to the millions of people who flock to Camden Lock, now one of London’s main tourist attractions. The Gilbey brothers who had volunteered to go abroad to work in a hospital during the Crimean War returned to London and set up a wine and spirit business in 1857. As wines from France and elsewhere on the continent had to pay heavy duties they successfully promoted wines from the British Empire, particularly the Cape. The duties on continental wines were lowered in 1861 and Gilbey’s sold those as well, supplying the off-licences which grocers had been allowed to open by Gladstone in 1860.

Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-12-positive_2400
Gilbey House, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

They added other drinks, sherry, port, whisky and in 1872 Gilbey’s London Dry Gin which made their name familiar in Britain and throughout the Empire. They built their gin distillery in Camden and soon had a large area of offices and stores around Oval Rd. But in 1962, following various mergers, Gilbey’s left Camden and moved to Harlow New Town.

Popbeat Records, Stucley Place, Camden, 1987 87-3b-06-positive_2400
Popbeat Records, Stucley Place, Camden, 1987

Stucley Place is just a few yards from the now often crowded Camden High St, just behind The Elephant’s Head. I think it had already become a rather trendy area by 1987, a stone’s throw from the TV AM studios in Hawley Crescent.

TV AM, Hawley Crescent, Camden, 1987 87-3b-05-positive_2400
TV AM, Hawley Crescent, Camden, 1987

This was the street side of the building, probably rather better known for the eggs in egg cups on the canal side of the former Henlys building. To me it seemed peculiarly tacky.

Bridge, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987 87-3a-34-positive_2400
Bridge, Regents Canal, Camden, 1987

The bridge and locks are still there, and are now pretty much tourist central, and even back in 1987 there are still quite a few people visible if you look closely. But it might now be difficult to get just 3 pairs of people actually on the bridge.

These locks held up the opening of the canal for several years as originally they were built in 1814 as boat lifts to conserve water. Sir William Congreve, who had developed many novel ideas, but was best known for the rockets he made for military use, designed a hydro-pneumatic canal lift with twin caissons. The canal company modified his designs and they were built by Henry Maudslay and Co. The lifts worked for a few months, though they were difficult to operate, but soon failed when they were handed over to the canal company. Following angry arguments with the three parties each blaming the others, the Regent’s Canal company decided to replace them with the conventional locks now present.

Undoubtedly had they been built to the original designs there would have been fewer problems, but the manufacturing tolerances and sealing materials of the day would have made them unreliable and needed frequent maintenance. It was a great idea but many years ahead of its time.

The Cleveland, Post Office Tower, Cleveland St, Fitzrovia, E=Westminster, Camden, 1987 87-3a-54-positive_2400
The Cleveland, Post Office Tower, Cleveland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, Camden, 1987

Two rather curious buildings in the same picture. The Cleveland Pub later became a restaurant and then a bar, remaining in use until around 2015 and was demolished I think in 2019. The Post Office Tower is still there.

Langham Works, Great Portland St, Westminster, 1987 87-3a-63-positive_2400
Langham Works, Great Portland St, Westminster, 1987

The 13.8 acres of the Langham Estate stretch from the Euston Road to Oxford St in an area property developers call ‘Noho’, but everyone else knows as Fitzrovia. In 2008 when billionaire tax exiles the Candy brothers named the block of flats they were developing on the former Middlesex Hospital site Noho Square, local residents responded with a “say no to Noho” petition.

Although my contact sheet places this building on Great Portland St, I cannot now find it on the street. It may have been demolished, or possibly I had wandered down a side street and not noted the fact. Please let me know if you recognise it somewhere.

University of Westminster, New Cavendish St, Westminster, 1987 87-3a-65-positive_2400
University of Westminster, New Cavendish St, Westminster, 1987

In 1970 the Regent Street Polytechnic became the Polytechnic of Central London, one of 30 new polytechnics formed in 1970 awarding degrees from the Council of National Academic Awards. It became the University of Westminster in 1992. This building is still at 115 Cavendish St, though it has added an extra floor since I took this picture in 1987. In the background of this picture you can see the Post Office Tower.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Another side of Marylebone

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-15-positive_2400
Paddington Green, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

There is another side to Marylebone, particularly to the north of the Marylebone Road, around Lisson Grove and Edgware Road. The trees are still there on the Green, and I think my tilted camera was an attempt to maximise their effect. The tower blocks at right, Hall and Braithwaite Towers, both 22 stories were commissioned by Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, more or less identical blocks by R A Jensen, completed in 1966 and still standing, each with 80 flats, but Paddington College, opened here in 1967 was replaced by a new building for what is now City of Westminster College in 2011.

Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-42-positive_2400
Ralfe Electronics, Transept St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Ralfe Electronics was indeed ‘The “Famous House” for Electronic Components‘ and a company of that name still exists, but is now in Watford. They were at 10 Chapel St, on the corner of Transept St, just a few yards from Edgware Rd (District) line station. Electronics geeks used to come from all over the country, if not the world, to shop here.

Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
Bookmakers, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-3c-15-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987  87-3c-26-positive_2400
The Christian Union Almshouses, Crawford Place, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

The bookmakers was in Crawford Place, a short street off the Edgware Road in the rather plusher area south of the Marylebone Rd, close to the Christian Union Almshouses. This building is still there, and in very much better condition. Built as a small hospital for the elderly and inform in 1899 it was converted into a dozen self-contained flats a few years after I took this picture. It still provides housing “for older or retired people in housing need, who are of the Christian faith“, particularly those “who live in, or have a strong local connection to the Boroughs of Westminster, Camden, or Kensington & Chelsea.

Ken's Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-21-positive_2400
Ken’s Junk Shop, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987
87-3b-36-positive_2400
Lisson Grove Cottages, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

The date on the houses in this small street off Lisson Grove is 1855, and they were Grade II listed a few months after I took this photograph. I think I was aware of these artisanal dwellings and Bell St from the drawing and writing of Geoffrey Fletcher – these cottages are drawn on p51 of his London Souvenirs (1973).

It was easy to walk past the entry to them without noticing, and I think it is now behind a locked gate.

Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-23-positive_2400
Bookseller, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

Bell St here now has a very different character, with most of the shops including this second-hand book dealer now converted to residential properties. Back in 1987 it was difficult to walk along this street without being diverted into browsing the extensive stock in search of a bargain, though these were hard to find.

The first Turkish Bath in London was opened in this street by Roger Evans in 1860, but the area was described at the time as being densely crowded with a population lower than the ‘decent poor’ on the east side of Lisson Grove, with Bell St “the main stream of a low colony, with many tributary channels.”

Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987 87-3b-12-positive_2400
Stirling & Sons, Bell St, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1987

One of my favourite pictures from this area shows the street and pavement outside Stirlings at 54 Bell St, a junk and scrap metal dealer with an extensive range and whose premises appear to need scaffolding. But it is the group of people in the doorway that provide much of the interest, as well as their backdrop.

Numbers on the street now go direct from 52 to 56, with no 54. The space of this shop and that on its right are now the Lisson Gallery, built to the designs of Tony Fretton shortly after I made this picture. The concrete pillar at left, part of a run-down single-storey building, continued to deteriorate until around 2010 when it was refurbished and in 2015 had two storeys added in a late Victorian manner that could be original.

More pictures of various areas of London in 1987.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Marylebone musings

Sunday, August 9th, 2020
Joseph Bros, Textiles, Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-45-positive_2400
Joseph Bros, Textiles, Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

Joseph Bros (Textiles) Ltd according to Companies House is dissolved, last filing company reports in 2006, though some online directories still list it at an address in Finchley which appears to be a garage. But the building is still there, with its ground floor occupied until recently by an “avant-garde” cosmetics company claiming inspiration from Salvador Dali claiming a “cosmetic artistic approach to stop time and restore youthful appearance.” Seeing what Dali did with clocks in his ‘The Persistence of Memory’ and other works, I don’t think I’d want to entrust my own ‘clock’ to them.

Park Crescent, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-21-positive_2400
Park Crescent, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

John Nash’s Park Crescent, built in 1812-21 for the Prince Regent and still owned by the Crown Estate is of course Grade I listed, although only its facades are orginal, everything behind them having been restored in the 1960s. They had been badly damaged by bombing in 1940.

According to John Summerson‘s classic work ‘Georgian London’ published in 1945 (my copy is of the 1947 reprint though bought a little later) “Nash inaugurated the real stucco age with the building of Park Crescent in Parker’s Roman Cement in 1812“. He also comments that “the simple appropriateness of Park Crescent with its Ionic colonnades is beyond criticism“.

All Saints Church, Margaret St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987 87-3e-02-positive_2400
All Saints Church, Margaret St, Fitzrovia, Westminster, 1987

All Saints Church in a kind of fantasy gothic called for a very different treatment. It was designed by William Butterfield in 1850 and completed in 1859. Another Grade I listed structure it has been described by Simon Jenkins as “architecturally England’s most celebrated Victorian church” and was pioneering in its use of brick rather than the traditional gothic stone. It set a style that would be much copied for the next 20 years though largely less flamboyantly.

I’ve always felt it would be a good location for a horror film, but is actually a leading centre for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England.

West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-52-positive_2400
West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

Quite in contrast is the West London Synagogue, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, opened in 1870. The congregation had split away from the Sephardi and Ashkenazi synagogues to worship as “British Jews”, adopting a practice based on the “written Torah”. In 1940 they becamae a part of mainstream Reform Judaism.

The architectural style of the building, by Henry David Davis (1838/9-1915) and Barrow Emanuel (1841-1904), is described as Neo-Byzantine, and is certainly unlike their other works I’ve been able to identify. As well as some artisanal blocks of flats for the East End Dwellings Company they also designed the City of London School for Boys still on Victoria Embankment. The synagogue seems to me a slightly odd amalgam of a fortress and a triumphal gateway.

Off-licence, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-51-positive_2400
Off-licence, Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

I was amused by the shop sign and not at all sure that I understood it when I took this photograph of what appears to be a rather up-market off-licence. I’m still not sure about it, with a star, arrow and what seemed to me half a lyre with the text ‘E du V’. Doubtless there is some obvious cultural reference which is lost on me, and hopefully someone will point out my ignorance in response to this post.

The reflection in the window clearly indicates it was on a corner of Upper Berkeley St, though I’m not sure on which corner, possibly of Seymour St. It is surely long gone.

St Mary's Church, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987
St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s School, Wyndham Place, Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987

The church, listed Grade I, was designed by Robert Smirke and built in 1823-4. There is a very full description of the church in ‘A Topographical and Historical Account of the Parish of St. Mary Le Bone’ by Thomas Smith, printed and published in 1833 by John Smith and available at the Internet Archive. The descirption ends on p105-6 with these comments:

It would have been desirable, if possible, to have procured a site for this church in a more central part of the District than that which has been assigned to it. In short, it should almost seem as if the greatest possible pains had been taken to select a site, in all respects the most inconvenient for the majority of the congregation ; it being surrounded by streets of worse than a second rate description.

If it be said, that the accommodation of the poor has been principally consulted the answer is the poor are always sure to fill the free seats allotted to them wherever the service of the Church of England is decently and impressively performed. The tower and cupola of this church form a tolerably picturesque termination to the view from Cumberland Gate, Hyde Park.

Internet Archive
Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987 87-3d-21-positive_2400
Bryanston Square, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987
St Mary's School, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987  87-3d-11-positive_2400
St Mary’s School, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, Westminster, 1987